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Interfaith goes to Guatemala

By Jesica Nekl
On January 17, 2012

The holiday season came and went with many Xavier students returning to campus seemingly no different than when they left. However, for some students, this

past winter break was very transformative. A group of 12 Xavier students, faculty members and medical professionals travelled to Guatemala over the winter break

for the Interfaith Medical Mission trip. This was the third year this program has been offered at Xavier. The first group went to Jamaica two years ago and last year's mission trip also took place in Guatemala. The trip lasted nine days from Dec. 31 to Jan. 8. The mission trip was mostly spent in the village of Patanatic, in addition to the village

of San Pedro, which was reached by boat across a volcano-formed lake. Simple luxuries such as indoor plumbing and electricity are often taken for granted in the United States.

At some points of the trip, the Xavier group had to do without

these luxuries, even while practicing medicine. "While the people of Patanatic and San Pedro were poor in health

care, living quarters and nutrition, they were rich in family and faith and gave of their affection and gratitude so very freely to us," said Rabbi Abie Ingber, the founding director for Interfaith Community Engagement who was in charge

of the Interfaith Medical Mission trip. "It was an incredible

learning and growth opportunity." Mary Erwin, a junior

nursing major, was a participant in the mission trip. "Each

patient and family greeted our medical team with a smile and was so grateful for the care we provided," Erwin said.

Students engaged in extensive fundraising to pay for the

trip including proceeds from November's Nearly Naked Mile

SGA also contributed significantly to travel expenses.

The total amount needed to make the mission trip happen

was $48,000. In the nine days spent in Guatemala, the group served 240 people at the clinic and home visits.

The holidays are a time of giving and receiving, but there is no greater gift to give than one's time and energy in service.

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